Istanbul... What can I say? The crossroads of history, the seat of the ancient Ottoman Empire, homeland of the mystical “Whirling Dervishes,” and the birthplace of Turkish Taffy.

But we will get back to describing my first indigenous 3-speed in a moment... First, let me tell you Eagle readers about the revered city once known as Constantinople. No, I’m afraid I can’t even begin to describe such a wondrous place. However, my old dark-green, Turkish “Snapping Turtle” 3-speed is a sight to behold. Just look at that ottoman-shaped seat! Constructed chiefly of beaver-board and library paste, wrapped lovingly in a thin film of camel skin, and then peppered with about 2000, brass-headed upholstery tacks -this baby gives new definition to the word “road rash.” The drive train, like the seat, is also manufactured under the Empire label. But, unlike most 3-speeds, this system has no provisions for freewheeling, and thus like a track bike, must be pedaled continuously. Empire calls this drive train the Whirling Dervish, and riding down into the capitol city of Ankara, I tell you, my cardio-vascular system was screaming like I’d just shot-gunned a pot of Turkish coffee. I was hyperventilating and begging Allah for mercy. And finally, after pedaling across this excessively caloric country, I noticed that my handle grips and pedal blocks had become quite gooey. Much tastier than any Powerbar, I would have to say that these two delicacies were my favorite part of the Snapping Turtle. These extra carbos came in handy when I got to the hilly terrain, for one can’t help but notice the heft of this roadster. 70lbs? 80lbs? I’m guessing there’s a lot of history in its frameset.

See you next month when I, Global Freddie, continue my cycling adventure through Turkey. But now I must be off, for my stomach is growling, and I need to seek out a street merchant and haggle over the purchase of a new 3-speed, replete with some “tasty” cycling accessories.   Your global correspondent -Global Freddie.

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Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie